Personal health budgets feature in draft mandate and annual report

Two key NHS documents recently published feature personal health budgets.

New objectives for the improvement of health and healthcare - including personal health budgets - have been set out for public consultation by the Department of Health, as the draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board is published.

Our NHS care objectives: a draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board sets out Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's expectations for the health service and marks the move to a more patient-centred, independent, transparent and outcomes focused NHS.

The Department of Health is consulting on the draft to make sure that it asks the NHS Commissioning Board to deliver the things that matter to people. The key themes of the draft mandate are improving health and healthcare; putting patients first; and effective commissioning (planning and buying NHS services).

Read the draft mandate, find out more about the consultation and how to respond via the links below. Personal health budgets are covered in points 3.9 and 3.10:

3.9 Another way of offering people choice, and enabling shared decision-making, is through a personal health budget. As the NHS Future Forum highlighted, personal health budgets extend choice and can empower people to have even more control over their NHS-funded care. Subject to the results of the current pilot programme23, the Government wants commissioners across the country to offer personal health budgets wherever appropriate, including the option of direct payments, and joint budgets across health, social care and other services.

3.10 Over time, the Government's aim is to create a right to ask for a personal health budget for all those who would benefit from one. This right would first apply from April 2014, to people receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare,24 and to parents of children with special educational needs or disabilities, who will be able to ask for a personal budget based on a single assessment across health, social care and education.

Objective 12: Enable shared decision-making, and extend choice and control for NHS patients. This includes:

-ensuring that commissioners support people to be involved in decisions about their care and treatment;
-extending the availability of personal health budgets to anyone who might benefit; and
-subject to the outcome of pilots during 2012/13, ensuring that patients are able to choose from a range of alternative providers if they either have waited, or are likely to wait, for more than 18 weeks after referral to start consultant-led treatment for a non-urgent condition.

The mandate can be viewed here.

Find out how you can take part in the consultation here.

The Secretary of State's annual report has also been published today, for Parliament and the public to see the direction the NHS is heading.

The report can be viewed here.

The National Health Service and Public Health Service in England: Secretary of State's Annual Report 2011/2012 covers a wide range of achievements from across the health service - and references personal health budgets in two key areas:

System change
20. If managed well, people with long-term conditions may not need to be treated within secondary care but, too often, care is uncoordinated and does not fit in with the individual's life, leading to a crisis point and a hospital admission. Instead, personalisation, empowerment and shared decision-making, for example through expanding patient choice, personalised care planning and personal health budgets, will help people to have far greater input into decisions about their care, and more control over the care they receive including where and when they receive it. This also offers greater potential for self-management and self-care, where the person is empowered to manage their condition.

A Focus on: Making People's Care more Integrated
65. The Department is currently running another pilot study in a closely related-area - personal health budgets - which offer a more personalised way of funding the care of people with a high level of need. As with integrated care, personal health budgets put the person at the heart of decision-making about their care. The final evaluation of this study will be published in October this year and should help inform system-wide improvements in integrated care.

In Control is a Department of Health strategic partner supporting the introduction of personal health budgets. For more information about our personal health budgets work and work with the Department of Health, please contact Julie Stansfield at

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Last Updated : 11 July 2012. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.